By Steve & Tamami Laser
The Prius is such an important car for Toyota that it continues to hold a special place in the lineup and among the hearts of its owners. Yet with an ambitious schedule to bring pure BEVs to the market (like bZ4X, etc.), we wondered if there would be a next generation Prius?
Since the Prius first went on sale in Japan in late 1997, Toyota has sold millions of hybrid vehicles worldwide. We photographed a first-generation Prius (above), on display at the Toyota Automobile Museum in Japan, along with significant models in the automaker’s history, including the 2000GT and Lexus LFA (see our story at this link).
The next-generation Prius is indeed on the way, set to become the sportiest and most technologically advanced in the model’s 25-year history. Toyota staged the world premiere of the all-new Prius this week in Japan, followed by a separate U.S. debut for the Los Angeles Auto Show.
Simon Humphries (above), Senior General Manager of Global Toyota Design, led the presentation in Japan, and discussed the fascinating development story of the new Prius, including the reasons why, “Together, We Chose Love.”
Prius development team members, shown above with Humphries, are Yuji Fujiwara (left), Project Chief Designer, and Satoki Oya (right), Project General Manager, Product Planning, Toyota Compact Car Company.
The following highlights a news release, courtesy of Toyota, that offers a closer look at the new Prius.
Prius undergoes a complete redesign, with thoroughly reﬁned styling and driving performance delivered in a colorful and exhilarating package
Inheriting the signature monoform silhouette of the original Prius, the new Prius has been reborn with even more stylish proportions through a low center of gravity and large-diameter 19-inch wheels on the second-generation TNGA platform. The simple yet sculpted body expresses exhilaration that appeals to the senses and a universal beauty that will remain popular into the future. The front hammerhead shark-like design achieves a high level of balance between functionality and styling, while the rear design oﬀers rear combination taillights extending horizontally to the left and right, further accentuating the advanced design of the Prius.
The new Prius comes with Toyota’s ﬁrst 2.0-liter Plug-in Hybrid System to deliver acceleration and quietness that are dramatically improved from the previous model. The combination of a high-eﬃciency Dynamic Force Engine and lithium-ion batteries for high output drive achieve maximum system output of as much as 164 kW (223 PS) while maintaining the same level of fuel eﬃciency as the previous model. outstanding dynamic performance with the powerful acceleration of a PHEV.
This version has outstanding dynamic performance with the powerful acceleration of a PHEV. EV driving range is about 50% higher than the previous model. This means that, with improved battery performance, the new Prius can operate on EV mode alone for most daily drives.
The Prius also offers the latest Series Parallel Hybrid System. It oﬀers satisfying acceleration and responsive driving in a car that reacts as expected while maintaining the same level of fuel eﬃciency as the previous model. Maximum system output is 144 kW (196 PS) for the 2.0-liter version.
The “island architecture” concept achieves a low-stress, spacious interior with a cockpit that makes it easy to concentrate on driving. Altogether, the interior oﬀers intuitive operation and an enjoyable driving experience. The interior comes with black tones throughout and coordinated instrument panel and seat stitching ﬁnishes.
The interior achieves a balance between sportiness and a new sophistication. The instrument panel uses Toyota’s ﬁrst illuminated warning system. In addition to providing an ambient light that highlights the interior, this new Toyota Safety Sense-linked feature is incorporated into the styling. It alerts the driver to detected objects through ﬂashing lights before the audible warnings to create a more reassuring driving experience.
Note: Vehicles shown are pre-production prototypes of future Japan market Prius models. Production models may vary.
News source and photos courtesy of Toyota Motor Corp.
Additional photo of 1997 Prius at Toyota museum in Japan © CarNichiWa.com
Story (intro commentary) © 2022 CarNichiWa.com